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The Most Iconic Bears In Movie History

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To be fair, the 2006 Hollywood adaptation of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights fantasy novel is a far cry from the definitive version of the story. Both the original book and the HBO adaptation His Dark Materials have received much more praise and success. Still, the very existence of the Golden Compass movie makes its characters worthy of a list like this, including the armored polar bear known as Iorek Byrnison.

“I’m an armored bear,” Iorek tells the protagonist Lyra Belacqua when they meet. “War is the sea I swim in and the air I breathe.” In Pullman’s masterfully crafted fantasy universe, the North is occupied by a race of sentient bears with opposite thumbs and an incredible mastery of metalworking. Each wears their own sacred armor and lives a life of honor and warfare, not unlike the Mandalorians of “Star Wars” or the Trojans of real history. Except, you know, they’re bears.

Even among his fantastic species, Iorek is no ordinary bear. An outcast of his own clan, he becomes involved in Lyra’s struggle against the oppressive Magisterium and becomes a vital and loyal ally in her crusade. His characterization is a highlight of both the novel and the film, but even if it weren’t, he would probably still make this list. There’s just something about a massive, armored Forgebear warrior that screams “iconic”.



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